"Luck out" means succeed by luck. For example,

I lucked out and found the last parking spot in the lot.

I wonder what phrase has opposite meaning and still uses "luck" as the verb? "luck in"?

  • 2
    There is some question as to what kind of opposite you are looking for. One opposite could mean: Succeed by skill, another could be "failed due to lack of luck"
    – Jim
    Aug 6, 2012 at 2:53
  • I've seen "luck out" be an antonym of itself, and one might require context to determine which meaning is actually intended.
    – TecBrat
    Aug 7, 2012 at 2:31

4 Answers 4


You can say your luck failed, which doesn’t use it as a verb but still keeps luck in the sentence.

However, a nice alternative is struck out.

  • although, "struck out" does not necessarily imply that it was through a "lack of luck" like, for example, "to draw the short straw" does.
    – Jim
    Aug 6, 2012 at 2:56
  • I'm with Jim. "Striking out" is trying and failing, whereas "Lucking out" is due to, well... luck.
    – Bob
    Aug 7, 2012 at 3:09

I'm fairly certain that in colloquial English to have 'lucked out' has the opposite meaning as it would in America. So in England the same phrase will mean to have been unlucky. There's a brief reference to this in Bill Bryson's book 'Mother Tongue'. As an alternative for both sides of the Atlantic, to be 'out of luck' sort of works but it's not quite as pithy. Hope this helps.


In American english, where "lucking out" is enjoying success or benefits due to good fortune, I'd say the antonym is "(getting) a bad draw" which is facing hardship due to bad fortune.

Obviously enough, it does not contain the word "luck". Sorry about that.


I have heard "I lost out" -- a nice mirror to "I lucked out."

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